Therapeutic Hypothermia

What is therapeutic hypothermia?

Therapeutic hypothermia is controlled, temporary cooling of a patient’s body temperature. Munson Medical Center began performing the procedure in 2009. 

About 90 percent of the 300,000 Americans who suffer a heart attack outside of a hospital die each year. For decades, conventional wisdom has been that if the heart stops beating longer than six to 10 minutes, the brain is dead. Mounting evidence of survival with little to no brain damage prompted hospitals around the country – including Munson Medical Center – to add therapeutic hypothermia to treatment protocols.

When it is used?

Therapeutic hypothermia at Munson Medical Center is considered by specialists in the Emergency Department if the patient meets the following criteria:

  • The patient has not regained consciousness after resuscitation following a ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia arrest
  • CPR was initiated within 15 minutes of arrest
  • Return on spontaneous circulation was less than one hour
  • Less than six hours have passed since the cardiac arrest event
  • Full code status
  • Patient is 18 or older

The American Heart Association added therapeutic hypothermia to its 2005 guidelines for treating some types of cardiac arrest patients after two landmark studies were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002. Those studies indicated that the brain is more resilient than previously thought after the heart stops beating. All patients receiving therapeutic hypothermia at Munson Medical Center are cared for by a critical care team that has been trained in the technique. 

For more information, contact Traverse Heart & Vascular at 800-637-4033.